Volvo is inventing a new model of car access with the launch of the new Volvo XC40 and the new Care by Volvo subscription service.
The Swedish brand says it makes having a car as transparent, easy and hassle free as having a phone: a national, ready-negotiated monthly fee, combined with getting a new car every 24 months.
After ordering online, Care by Volvo customers will be able to drive away in a new Volvo without having to worry about deposits, insurances, taxes, service fees and geographical or customer age-related differences.
The XC40 urban SUV is now available to order in the UK, with prices starting at £27,905.
Three petrol and two diesel engines will initially be available, with power ranging from 150PS to 250PS. All these engines are 2.0-litre four-cylinder units.
The 156PS T3 is available exclusively with front-wheel drive, while the 150PS D3 is offered in front- or all-wheel-drive form. The T4 (190PS), T5 (247PS) and D4 (190PS) come with all-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.
Full technical details of these engines will be released at a later date and Volvo says other powertrains will be offered later in the XC40's lifecycle.
All XC40s are well equipped as standard and feature Volvo's Sensus nine-inch touch screen that works in tandem with the voice-activated control system.
Standard safety equipment includes City Safety, Volvo's automatic emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, and Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which warns you if you move out of your lane into the path of an oncoming vehicle and provides steering assistance to guide you safely back into your lane.
R-Design versions add a host of sporty touches, including a gloss black front grille and front and rear lower bumper sections, a black roof and door mirrors, and dual integrated exhaust pipes. They also get uprated sports suspension and 18-inch diamond cut/matt black alloy wheels. On the inside, there's leather/nubuck upholstery, front seat cushion extensions, a perforated leather steering wheel and gear knob, and aluminium dashboard inlays.
Inscription versions focus on luxury and come with leather-faced upholstery, a power-operated tailgate, front parking sensors, a powered driver's seat, driftwood interior inlays and chrome exterior highlights. Automatic versions also come with a crystal gear lever from Swedish crystal glassware maker Orrefors.
Every version of the XC40 is also available in highly specified Pro form. Highlights of the Momentum Pro include a powered driver's seat, heated front seats and a heated windscreen, and active bending headlights with adaptive shadow technology that block out part of the headlights' beam to avoid dazzling vehicles in front.
R-Design Pro benefits from all this, along with 20" alloy wheels, while Inscription Pro has 19" wheels and a powered passenger seat.
An optional Xenium package is available across the range and brings a powered tilt and slide panoramic glass sunroof, a 360-degree surround view parking camera system, and Park Assist Pilot, which includes automatic parallel and 90-degree parking.
Pilot Assist, Volvo's innovative semi-autonomous drive feature, is an optional extra on every XC40. It assists with the steering (up to 80MPH) and takes care of the acceleration and braking to keep the car within lane markings and at the desired speed or distance from any vehicle in front. Pilot Assist is another step towards fully autonomous driving.
Other options include wireless mobile phone charging, Smartphone Integration – which includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay – and a Harman Kardon sound system that combines 13 speakers, advanced sound-processing software and an output of 1,200 W.
The first XC40s in the UK will be the T5 and D4 First Editions, which are based on R-Design Pro versions but with even more equipment as standard. Highlights of the enhanced First Edition specification are the Xenium pack, Pilot Assist, a power-operated tailgate with handsfree opening and closing, heated rear seats, wireless mobile phone charging and the Harmon Kardon sound system.